tv [untitled] November 11, 2014 9:30pm-10:01pm PST
>> yeah, this is not quite at that level. >> but it could be some day. >> yeah i mean that it is one of the many possibilities as peter and steven explained, these are some of the challenges technical challenges that we face, and we really came into this very super idea, was big and we are going to do exactly what you said, but the reality is, these are human beings filling out forms, and so, it is full of errors and lots of issues, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of work. >> reality is like that. >> yeah. >> okay. >> thank you. >> but it is a great work, thank you so much. >> i can elaborate on the contribution piece a little bit. >> one of the things going forward, we were working on, is a system that enables outside contributions, and that is one of the reasons why we decided to find our own content, what is called a content management system for hosting our own data
sets, so that if you ended up importing this into excel, and did your own analysis, you could give us the data and we could put this on the internet. you know? and sort of under our name and in our system as something that can be, you know, built on that is not necessarily endorsed by the government, but it is part of our organization's effort to make the data more understandable and usable and so we are working on some very, you know, sort of basic tools for doing that. but, it is early stages, but it is a focus of ours. >> commissioner king? >> you have done a good job in allowing the general public to get into the weeds of things like a general election and in regards to funding an election and who is involved, and the whole aspect of following the money which is or tells so much about government, and the transparency and the lack of transparency of government and that is enormously valuable and
i want to ask you a question which may be unfair and if it is, feel free not to answer it. since you have gotten into the weeds and you have seen, how elections and balloting works and where the money is coming from and where it is coming from. have you formed me kind of opinions relating to one way or the other? in regard to the whole process itself? that you would like to share with us? >> i think that we had, some ideas, just about in the future, being able to track future lobbying money and i think that some of those conclusions will come after the elections and just, after yeah,
after we have some more information, just from lobbying and what politicians have done. then, i personally might have some more conclusions on that. but it has been interesting to see where money has been coming from so far, but in some ways, i am curious, how that will influence some of the candidates, for example, for the board of supervisors. >> i hope that you do follow up on that. and i would love to hear your conclusions on those things. >> yeah. >> thanks very much. >> thanks. >> commissioner hayon? >> i have another question, you know, a lot of journalistic entities follow the money and their organizations that devote themselves to that and i am just wondering have you partnered with any of these groups such as propublica and
even nate silver and the work that he does, and you know, vox, and any of the other number of sites that are out there. that do this kind of reporting on money and lobbying and you know, the influence that it has and then there is all of that money that is very difficult to track and that can't be tracked. but i am just wondering if you formed me partnerships on that basis, and then, after that, i have a question for you steven. >> so, the main thing is that a lot of the organizations that you are talking about are largely focused at the federal level. that is a major difference and so i did personally work for another organization called working in that same space, called vitocracy and the great things about the things on the federal level is that you have many, many organizations that clean up the data for you, and very easy to go in there and build stuff on top of it. the challenge at the state and local level, is that we
actually don't have that or those kinds of institutions that actually do the same level of work. so that is why we are going to be working with the other groups, similar brigades who are working on the same thing together and hopefully we can create something, the gray thing being 460, as a forum and that is the for the entire state and so that actually helps us build something. we will be reaching out, to journalists within san francisco, and with this project, and then, you know, whatever feedback we get from them will incorporate that into the next. >> thank you. >> and steven, my question for you, is now that you have worked with this group, with code for america, and the san francisco brigade, what are your hopes for the future collaboration and how we at the ethics commission can use this and take advantage of it and
make it available very clearly to all of the public that has an interest in this? >> yeah, i think that these kinds of technologies. >> actually a question was for the other steven. >> oh, >> my question is for you. >> okay. >> we are both named steven. >> i am sorry. you are both steven. you may have thoughts on this too, but for our expert at the commission. >> well, you know this is the first group like this that we really connected with and i think that it is because we started to post this information on the city's open data system and because it is so accessible and so i hope not only will this relationship continue, because for this group, i mean it has been a major learning curve since the summer to produce this site and so now they have a little bit of experience with this and so i am moving for this group that this will continue and then i
am also hoping that it will help us with other cities as well. because, i have worked a little bit with the group of oakland, and i know that there is a group in san jose and again in sacramento, and so there are a lot of different projects that are going on independently and i hope that going forward they can start to work together more to produce sort of one more unified site, and another sort of exciting development, which i have not had a chance to talk to them about, is that in the last week, net file, which is our vendor, for our electronic system is also the vendor for all of the electronic filings in the other cities, posted a website and, the programmers like this group, can actually tap into the data in any city in california, and then they also took the state's data and included it as well. and so you can actually tap into all of the data state wide and so you could build something like this now and again, this is only, it has developed in the past week, so a lot of stuff is moving at the
moment. >> thank you. >> any other questions from the commissioners? >> well, thank you very much for the presentation. we appreciate it, and thank you for your hard volunteer work. it is really great, and i think that the public is going to greatly benefit from it. [ applause ] public comment, on agenda item three? >> i too would like to compliment these volunteers, the website looks terrific. i think journalists larry bush at city report.com would absolutely love this new website. so, keep on encouraging them to work with mr. massey. >> david, pilpal speaks an individual, three comments, it would be nice if the group could explain the light blue and the dark blue, and the
difference between the blue and the red and i just saw it quickly. >> and i think that there is an explanation, and a legend, but we could not see it very well. >> okay. >> and it would be good if they can ensure that there is good contrast, i know that there are problems with the video, but just in general it looks like the contrast could be better, on their site. and just in general, i recall in dealing with campaign finance data historically, the problem is that the data really is inconsistent all over the place and so there are typos and there are, wrong addresses, and zip code inconsistencies and one campaign will report a contributor as a lawyer, and the other will report it as an attorney and so when you try to aggregate the data you have to clean those things up and it is extremely time consuming and i just recall that in the past efforts and so if they have, put in time to try to clean that up, that is all to the
good, but it really is a mess trying to work through all of that data. so any way, thanks for all of the work. >> the next item on the agenda is... >> what is that? >> do we need... >> the next item on the agenda is hearing on the merits regarding ethics complaint, 18-121029 in the matter of bob squeri. >> good evening, commissioners i represent the staff of the ethic commission in this hearing. and it does not appear that the respond ant is here for this case.
and was involved two violations of the code section, 1.162 a one, which requires the disclosure statement and a campaign ad to be a certain size and in this case, the respondent ran for district supervisor in 2012 and distributed two campaign ads in the form of two hangers and the statement that is smaller than is required by law. and you have been given a brief, along with eight exhibits. and the staff would request that you accept those exhibits as submit and rely on them and make a determination that the respondent committed both violations that they are not here to contest the violations. respondent was notified by the hearing by personal service on september 5, and notified on every step of this process since its initiation and has not come tonight. so, i would request that you
find the violation based on what has been given to you already. >> can you state for the record what specific efforts you have made to contact, the respondent, and whether you have ever spoken to him? >> sure. sure. so, the complaint was initiated in october of 2012, he was first notified november 7, 2012, by letter. by letter, again, december 5th, by letter again on january 3, 2013. and then, again, in march of 2013, i also made various e-mail and telephone attempts no messages were ever returned to me. and he was sent a probable cause report in march 28 and he did respond but did not attend the hearing and his response was that he was not going to attend. and the accusation was then sent to him in july, second, 2014, and again, i made repeated attempts by telephone
to try to resolve the matter by this process, and no messages was ever returned to me. and so then, the hearing notice, for this hearing was sent on september 5th, and after i sent that i did try to contact him a couple of times as well to see if we can resolve it through the settlement or some other way and again there has been no response. >> questions from the commissioners? >> you know, in my view, i think, clearly you have been able to meet all of the elements and that there is certainly has been a violation here and i think that the only question to me is the size of the penalty. and you know, for a failure to print the campaign committee in the correct font size, $10,000 does seem some what harsh. and i understand that it is a
result of the respondent not at all cooperating or acknowledging the process. but i still do have some concern that that penalty is accessive. >> sorry. we can see that that is actually high. it is the maximum. for this kind of violation, we would, that would not ever happen as a settlement. policies were adopted, back in 2013 that laid out very specific time lines and what penalties will be. this did actually occur, prior to those adoptions. the staff just used it as a guide to use it as something to consider and it is purely within your purview to do whatever you like. you could issue a lower penalty, or something in between. those are merely a guide at this point, like i said, i don't believe that it would be fair to impose those penalties on him because this happened
prior to that, i included that as a guide for you. that was it. >> other comments or questions from the commissioners? >> i think that i share your views, mr. chairman, that $10,000 is not appropriate for this kind of a violation. and i am reminded of a judge who once told me about he had a case before during the second world war and two plumbers were charged with sabotage because they cut a pipe on a job they were doing and he said to the f.b.i. and he said, well, what are you doing to suggest for a real sabotage? because they wanted to give about a ten year sentence. and i mean, i would think that for this kind of a violation, i would be much more comfortable with something in the range of 2 or 300 dollars. >> if i may, the potential help. settlements that are publicly
available, on this violation, or very similar have been in the $500 range, when someone has cooperated at a early stage and resolved the matter in settlement without the staff having to go through all of these steps. i will leave that there and let me give you some food for thought. >> commissioners? >> well, that being said, and you said that the respondent they in past years or others, they were cooperative, and they, settled at around a $500, range, and it seems that this particular gentleman has chosen not to participate with us and engage with us. i would recommend $500 of violation. >> $500 to $1,000, per violation. >> for a total of $2,000.
>> what is staff think of that? >> this is a lot of time that the staff has spent on this and i suspect that could have been litigated in some way. >> sorry. >> this is unusual. honestly to be here at this point, for something like this. so, i am going to defer to the executive director on that to let him decide if that will be an acceptable amount. >> i think that the minimum should be $500 for each count. >> i am siding with commissioner andrews that it should be $1,000 a count, seems right f we otherwise would settle for $500 a count. and i mean, arguably maybe that is a little too low to have the turn about that we want, but i think that is very reasonable. >> yeah. >> and is there a motion, unless there are other comments from the commissioners, maybe
we should take the public comment and we will do the motion. s >> public comment on this matter? >> david, pilpal speaking as an individual, i did want to note that the commission does have this history of settling matters related to this type of allegation, it did seem from the discussion, like at least, $1,000 a count, or $2,000 total is appropriate given the aggravating factors and the effect that you are trying to encourage here and i also recall a few years ago that there was a proposal to eliminate the additional point size, and i think that commissioner hur remembers that and he at the time, expressed a few that it was important to keep that larger point size, and because it is different, from state law, and so we do see these violations from time-to-time. and so, for all of those reasons, i think that at least,
$2,000 seems right. >> thanks. >> is there a motion to find a violation as stated in the complaint with a penalty of $1,000 per count, for a total penalty of $2,000? >> i would so move. >> second. >> all in favor. >> aye. >> aye. >> opposed? >> aye. >> the motion passes, 4-1. and the violation has been established, and the penalty should issue from the commission. >> okay. >> the staff? >> okay. >> the next item on the agenda is a hearing on the merits relating to the complaint, 14.131112, in the matter of
jacqueline norman. >> gary again, for the commission, and so this matter involves six violations of the california government code, six 84200 a, which requires to file the semiannual campaign statements, and so until they terminate the activity and (inaudible) has ruled on how a committee must terminate. this respondent ran for district supervisor in 2010. she stopped filing her form 460s o january, 31, 2011, and she had an outstanding cash balance and outstanding debts and because of the debt she was unable to terminate by law. the state law requires that you have a zero balance. in order for you to terminate. and again, this respondent is not here. so, i would request that you accept the evidence, that has been submitted to you and, find the violations and i will with
one caveot in the matter when someone is not filing, in all likelihood they are first not filed form 360 might have resolved everything if they had done it and the subsequent ones, continue to happen, because they don't file. and so it is possible to have the activity in that first non-filing, but would have resolved it and they could terminated but it is unknown at this point, because, again, the staff reached out to her multiple times, which i am happy to go through again and she never filed and never addressed the issue. >> comments or questions from the commissioners? >> you list the mitigating factors or at least the standard mitigating factors, did you find that any applied here? >> it does not look like there
is any finding either way? >> yeah, i don't believe that there was an actual intention to conceal or deceive, i believe that respondent probably was unaware to be honest of what her responsibility was. i certainly don't think that it was deliberate and it was negligent and it was isolated and there is no existing history with our commission of a violation at all, however she did not cooperate at all, either the campaign finance staff or myself. >> can you describe for us, what communications you had with her, if any. >> i personally have never spoken to her, i sent her various letters starting in november, 2013, and she had a probable cause report in march
and we held a hearing which she did respond to but did not attend, and sent out in june and noticed of this meeting in september, i tried to reach her by telephone a couple of times, she either had a message that said that her voice mail box is full so i couldn't leave a message, or if i could leave a message she did not return my call, the address has been consistent and the it is the same as all of the filings and i believe that it is her home and so everybody was sent there and she never responded prior to the start of this action, to the campaign finance staff who reached out to her, both, via e-mail and telephone and letter to try to get her to file which is what we always do. >> anything? >> public comment? >> >> no public comment?
>> any other questions, is there a motion from the commission? >> all right, i just wanted to note that so this january, 31, 2011, it was reported that she had an ending cash balance of 2300 and outstanding debts of 8,000 dollars and i will bring that to our attention as we go forward in a... some kind of a decision on this violation. >> you know, i think, you know for me, there are always competing concerns when we have complaints like this. you know, on the one hand, i do think that we need to enforce these regulations because otherwise, people are not going to follow them and we need to have some deterrent effect. on the other hand, i want to make sure that people who are running for office, who don't have big campaigns and don't
have professionals helping them are not completely discouraged by failing to file forms, that probably would have resolved matters for them relatively quickly. i think for me, the reason why i am comfortable with this recommendation is because of the great efforts we have made to try to get the respondent to resolve and i think the public, it is recognized that we are willing to cooperate with the respondents particularly in this kind of a situation, who acknowledge that they did not file forms, and get it fixed and you know, this probably could have been resolved, for, much less than what is being proposed here, if the respondent had merely responded to the phone calls. so, and i do think that it is a serious issue to not file your forms. because there could be a situation where they could really be deceiving the public by not filing them. it may not be the case here, but i think to me, that makes the amount although, high, reasonable. and but, i welcome, these from
other commissioners. >> and commissioner hayon >> my question is i just need to be reminded of what will happen. and once we decide on this penalty. and she is not going to respond to the penalty, she is not going to pay it, i would assume. i don't know that. but, given the lack of response thus far, what do we do then? do we garish wages? what do we do? >> it will go to the bureau of revenue and they will, well we will try to collect it first and we have a judgment from you saying here is what we need to pay, and reach out to try to collect that. and they, require a certain amount of effort from us to do that and then it could be sent to them for them to collect, basically they are like a collection agency for the city. and i am not, 100 percent on the process, but that is what happens. >> and do we ever make an attempt to actually go to the
individual's home and knock on their door, and see if they are there. >> well, these are done by the process server and so i personally have not done that, and i suppose that it is not beyond the relevant tom realm to do that. >> we don't normally do that? >> no. >> right. >> and having the delinquent revenues would sue in small claims court and get a judgment, if they have the requisite amount of information they will try to garnish the wages but that is the process. >> and i have another question, thank you. chairman. i would, and in it, and i was going to hold on to it, until we got to the executive director report, but, now, that we are talking about it, i think that it is appropriate. so, once we make a determination, on the amount of the violation, that in some
way, we have created this contractual agreement that you owe us money, that is now debt, how do we treat that on our balance sheet? do we carry that as a debt and is that a liability? i mean, we typically and certainly, in business, on the accounts receivable, you do that, and on the particular judgments you can carry it and at some point the auditor is going to tell you that you need to write that off because it is going against your assets. >> we are not a revenue producing department, there are few that are, the larger ones and so while we do, the city does track the revenues that we collect as deposits into the general fund. there is no deficits recorded, when we have outstanding debts like this. and then, we have 90 days to collect them and then, the city law requires that we refer them to bdr and then it sort of becomes, their responsibility.
>> okay. >> so, commissioner hayon. >> more of a general comment that these two cases make me think of, is that it is a shame, and you know, i do have some sympathy for the individuals involved, and usually it is individuals, who are first time candidates, maybe not completely familiar with the regulations which they are supposed to adhere to. and so, and i just wonder, how we can possibly avoid this, these kinds of situations, and i'm... and i am understanding that there will always be situations of this nature. but, something about the way that we train candidates, if we can do, is there something different that we can do, in the training, or in the way that we inform people who are running for office or running
campaigns who may be fairly naive or new to the process. and i don't know if that is a question for you, or for you, mr. st. croix. >> there is often, an understandable feeling on behalf of candidates, that run and are not elected that they go through all of the rig ors of the candidate and all of the difficulties of understanding the myriad of laws and, we finally frequently just don't want it deal with that process, any more. they would like to just sort of shut it down and walk away from it and unfortunately, they can't do that, there is obligations that they encure to themself and there is a certain frustration level because people don't really how complicated it can be to run for office when they initi